Micki Schaffer helps individuals and businesses rediscover enjoyment in work and life using science-backed, tried and true techniques that remind professionals of our innate ability to experience joy in work and life through her company, MŌR JOY. We chatted with Micki about her advice for entrepreneurs, her career path, and her hopes for the future. (And we’ll be the first to tell you there is some seriously good guidance ahead.)
What piece of advice would you give young business owners?
Starting a business is hard work. Long hours, constantly being “on”, and worrying about making ends meet. With that comes lots of responsibility and a steep learning curve as you are forced to become a jack-of-all-trades in the areas of your business. Despite the hard work, owning your own business brings a new level of satisfaction, pride, and growth. The trick is growing your business without growing your stress levels. Here are some tips to help grow your joy at work:
- “Have a clear purpose.” Be clear about how your business is going to have a positive impact on the world. How will your work be meaningful to you and others? If you can define that, you will always feel connected to something larger than yourself and are more likely to find it rewarding.
- “Be true to you.” Be clear in what your values and strengths are and how they support the purpose of your company. If you stay true to that, you’ll find joy in each day. Positivity is contagious so by doing this, you’ll build positive energy and close relationships with customers and team members who value you for you.
- “Set boundaries.” More than 50% of small business owners work 50+ hours per week which can lead to high-stress levels, burnout, and unhappiness. Setting boundaries at work helps protect you from this. Examples of setting boundaries include:
- Control your calendar: block off time for reading, exercising, resting, or just time for catching up on those things you like to work on.
- Decrease distractions: turn off notifications and only check messages at certain times of the day.
- Schedule fun: rest is as important as work. Make sure you plan for time off. Take several breaks throughout the day. Look up from your computer or phone frequently.
- “Don’t be afraid to fail.” To grow, you need to try things. When you aren’t afraid to try things, you can learn and innovate much faster than if you don’t. This is the philosophy of some great individuals and businesses including mega-retailer Amazon and professional basketball player LeBron James. Even if it doesn’t work out the way you wanted, you have learned something new.
Why did you start your business?
I had just started a job that had everything I thought I wanted…good pay, a promotion, flexibility, the opportunity to learn, travel, etc. Very soon I realized that something was missing. I wasn’t excited to get out of bed for work. I was drained after just a couple of meetings. I was dreading work each day and found myself counting down the minutes until the end of the day. I finally got everything I thought I wanted for my ultimate career, but I was miserable. So, I started working with an executive coach who asked me one of life’s hardest questions, “what do you want?”. It took me a while to realize that I had always defined what I wanted with external things. After thinking about this question for a long time, it hit me. I wanted more joy. I wanted more joy in life and more joy in work. But I didn’t really know what that meant. This led to the start of my business MŌR JOY where I help individuals and businesses rediscover enjoyment in work and life using science-backed, tried and true techniques that remind us of our innate ability to experience joy at any given moment.
What’s your favorite quote?
“All I know is that I know nothing.” Socrates
What are you watching at the moment on Netflix?
Since the winters are long and cold in MN, I try to pick a Netflix show that has a lot of episodes and seasons. I’m currently oddly obsessed with anything Vikings-related. I’ve watched The Last Kingdom and Vikings Valhalla in Netflix. I’m currently watching Vikings on Prime Video. I think I like the history and adventure mixed with the beautiful cinematography along with the idea that if they could survive the cold – so can I!
What was the best business advice you’ve ever received?
One of the things my executive coach said to me that has really stuck is “it doesn’t have to be hard to be good”. I’ve had a good work ethic my whole life and really believed that to get further in life, I had to continue to work harder (ie: longer hours, more duties, longer to-do lists, etc.). She made me rethink that belief. Now, I’m much smarter about how I prioritize my time. Rather than trying to do MORE, I focus on the things that matter more.
What do you daydream about?
I’m currently enamored with the idea of living and working on the road. There is so much of the United States and the rest of the world I haven’t seen. I’d love to hit the road with my husband and an RV. Spend our days driving to the next adventure, doing work when the schedule allows, exploring national parks, sightseeing, meeting new people, and learning new things.